Montgomery Planning and Parks Will Hold the White Flint Placemaking Festival at Randolph Hills Shopping Center on October 13 and 14

October 3, 2018

The public is invited to enjoy local food, arts, music, kids’ activities and a fitness zone within a pop-up park built by the community

 SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), are co-hosting a special initiative to reimagine part of the Randolph Hills Shopping Center as a lively, dynamic public space and park. The White Flint Placemaking Festival will be held on Saturday, October 13 from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Sunday, October 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Randolph Hills Shopping Center (4921 Wyaconda Road, Rockville, MD).

For these two days, an underutilized field of grass and a small portion of the shopping center parking lot will serve as a pop-up park with food, arts, children’s play areas and a fitness zone. Parks employees from the Pope Farm Nursery in Gaithersburg are bringing movable trees, planters and mulch for the temporary park. Kids’ games, an outdoor activation kit, a movie screen, a ping pong table and other equipment also will be provided for the event, courtesy of the Parks Department.

Residents of all ages and abilities will have a host of building and play activities during the festival. Local artists and makers will showcase their artistic talents. Local musicians will play throughout the two days, local restaurateurs will sell food and drinks, and local fitness businesses will host free classes for kids and adults.

The Planning and Parks Departments are organizing the event in partnership with the Dallas-based Better Block Foundation, Randolph Civic Association of North Bethesda and AR Kronstadt Realty Investors of Rockville. Better Block is an internationally acclaimed urban design nonprofit that aims to educate, equip and empower communities and their leaders to reshape and promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.

About the Community Placemaking Effort:
Since May 2018, the Montgomery County Planning Department has been working with residents, local businesses and other stakeholders in the Randolph Hills neighborhood to reimagine a piece of the Randolph Hills Shopping Center as a public space. This project was undertaken to:

  • Give the community an opportunity to realize its collective vision for the neighborhood.
  • Demonstrate to the property owners and county agencies how recommendations in the White Flint 2 Sector Plan can be implemented.
  • Engage local businesses, schools and community members in a dialogue about the role of public spaces within their community.
  • Use temporary placemaking as a tool to gather data and help inform permanent designs for successful public spaces in the White Flint 2 Sector Plan area.

After months of weekly calls with residents, on-the-ground conversations and more than 100 survey responses, the team found that the community wants a beautiful, well-programmed green space with a neighborhood bar, coffee shop, local restaurants and activities for kids. This plan will be put into action, beginning on Wednesday, October 10 when residents, community members and volunteers will construct the pop-up park.

To find out more about volunteering, go here.

Local businesses interested in supplying food or fun should contact the project managers Atul Sharma at tel. 301-495-4658 or Atul.Sharma@montgomeryplanning.org, or Colin Amos at colin@betterblock.org.

About the Better Block Foundation:
The Better Block Foundation is a Dallas-based nonprofit that teaches citizens about placemaking principles on the neighborhood level. Placemaking is a people-centered approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. It involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular place to discover needs and aspirations and using the feedback to create a common vision for that place. Placemaking can be used to improve streets, sidewalks, parks, buildings and other public space so they invite greater interaction between people and foster healthier, more social and economically viable communities. The Better Block Foundation helps facilitate this process by offering tools to educate and equip residents, stakeholders and government leaders, and enable them to reshape their communities into vibrant, sustainable places. For more information, visit betterblock.org. To check out Wikiblock, go to betterblock.org/wikiblock.